Friday, January 10, 2014

Emily's Resolutions

Since Sheila went ahead and shared her resolutions I figured I could share mine also. Although, mine aren't as grand as hers and I'm not nearly as confident in my ability to see them through. My resolutions aren't so much things I want to do/accomplish so much as they are changes I want to make to my daily habits that would save time, energy, money or sanity for me.

So here goes.

1. Make the bed more often. I've been trying to work on this for the last month or so and it's going alright. I don't spend a lot of time in our bedroom, in fact most days I don't go up there at all until bedtime, but I know that it makes a difference so I'm trying to consciously put forth the effort to pull the sheets and comforter up and arrange the five pillows and lay the quilt folded at the foot of the bed.

2. Stop using the "touch up" cycle on the dryer to fluff and dewrinkle clothes that weren't folded as soon as the cycle was finished. I know the dryer is an energy hog even though it's new and energy efficient and such. And I also know that sometimes this is unavoidable if I throw a load in and leave the house and don't return home until much later. But if I'm there and I know it's stopped I want to make an effort to go fold those clothes while they are still warm and wrinkle free instead of hitting the 20 minute touch up…… ahem, multiple times…….

3. Run more. I don't have any lofty goals to run a full or half marathon and I'm pretty sure this will be the second year of the 10k but that's ok. I just joined Planet Fitness so I can get back to it after a two month break. Maybe once it warms up I'll feel more invigorated to take on a longer distance but right now there just aren't any races on the horizon I want to train for so I'm just going to run for fun.

4. Explore more with Sam. He's obviously a homebody. The second we get in the car after school or Music Class he says he wants to go home. So sometimes that makes exploration and adventure a little challenging on the days we don't have anywhere to go. But once the weather warms up I want to cover every inch of trails in the state historic park that's just three miles away. And maybe venture a little further once summer gets here and school is done for awhile.

So those are my challenges for myself this year. The first two are probably a lot easier than the last two but we'll see. Sheila, maybe you and Alyda can start posting about your half marathon training instead of crafting? What kind of plans are you using? What are you eating, wearing, etc? What are your must have running gadgets? Even though I'm not going the distance I can still chime in on some of those topics. :)

Is it Friday yet?

Alright…so?? We (here in the great state of Indiana) are finally starting to thaw. One night the wind chill got down to -30. Now that’s ridiculous ya’ll. I mean that’s polar bear temperature. And so…since we couldn't leave the house for 3 days because we loved our fingers and toes too much to part with them to frost bite, we went stir crazy with cabin fever. While doing that, we played many games, cooked and ate WAY too much, and I read my new book. Which if you’re not reading or haven’t read, I’m considering not being your friend…RIGHT NOW! So hop it is:

It’s laugh out loud funny and is hard to put down. Completely non-educational (unless you consider taxidermy and mental illness educational of course), but it’s fun and light hearted and who doesn’t need that while they’re losing their mind being stuck indoors with two kids, a husband, a dog, two cats, and …YES…four chickens………all of which would rather be outside.

Chickens? You ask. Well hell yea chickens. They don’t want to be out when it’s 30 below either. But I am not a TOTAL crazy person….I kept them in the garage with a space heater. You know I wanted to bring them in but Josh wouldn’t let me…….WHAT A PARTY POOPER! That should have been his New Year’s Resolution….to not poop on my parties. Good thing he’s so handsome!

Well as for this weekend, I’m going to attempt to put in the new sink from the “Great Flood of 2012” where Ollie flooded the downstairs bathroom and ruined the vanity. Since the flood however, we have managed (and when I say we, I mean “I”) have managed to strip all the wallpaper of the walls and paint, remove a gigantic vanity and sink, replace the toilet, and lay all new slate tile all the way down the hallway, into the bathroom, and into the laundry room. I
even have a mirror to hang in the bathroom already, just need a sink. So this weekend might just be my weekend. Stay tuned for that debacle =0) I’ll be sure to include pictures next time.

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Years Resolutions

New Year’s Resolution #1….to resurrect this blog! And Emily…Alyda…I have nominated the two of you to help (I know… can thank me later). I have to admit…I miss it. And although I’m not a stay-at-home mom anymore, and my interests have changed just slightly (however I still love to rip a bathroom out and paint a wall like nobody’s business) I miss telling all about it. Venting my day’s frustration and learning something from you guys along the way. Now that I’ve gotten the mushy stuff out of the way, let’s move on.
This blog post is going to go over, mainly for myself to remember, my list of New Year’s Resolutions. I keep a list like this every year and I usually accomplish most if not all of what I set out. Now none of them are the usual resolutions so keep that in mind. This list is just to keep my mind moving forward and never sitting stagnant. Always have an attainable goal and keeping my family and myself motivated to make positive choices and changes. So here we go…..
#2 (because #1 is to do this more often) Run 624 miles this year. Technically that’s 12 miles a week for 52 weeks. Now obviously I’m not going to run 12 miles EVERY SINGLE week this year (although that would be awesome) but I realize that Life happens. Sick kids, sick husband, hell sick dog…and it all takes time. But it shouldn’t be too hard considering resolution #3 & 4.
#3 To complete my first Triathlon. Big deal right! At least it will be for me. Having said this kinda makes just 12 miles of running a week seem like a breeze.
#4 To complete my first Half Marathon. Again! 12 miles a week will be nothing in training for this bad boy.
#5 Take a vacation!!!! Ahhh! Go somewhere I’ve never been. Go somewhere we’ve always wanted to go. Go somewhere that makes you realize the world is so much bigger than your little corner of it.
#6 (this is always on my list every year) Buy a piece of art. Now I don’t mean an original Van Gogh….but something that speaks to your soul. Something you come across somewhere that makes me have to have it. I love antiques and things with soul so this usually is no problem for me each year. I usually buy lots of "art". But nonetheless I think it’s important to make it a goal. These items give me creative inspiration and feed my soul. One more thing to keep me going…keep me off the computer and out of the house. Ideal to instill in my children. Surrounding yourself with things that mean something to you (people included) is far more important than just owning "things".
Alright…I’m done. Now this is written in stone and I can’t avoid it. Now don’t think I’m done sewing or remodeling or cooking or raising chickens. Just thought I should share the things that will motivate me this year.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

DIY is for dummies.

Disclaimer: This post will have no pictures. Consider it more of a confession or apology or complain-fest rather than a tutorial.

You might have guessed by the title of this post, and lack of posts in general, that I'm having a tough time in the DIY category lately. Allow me to give you an example.

Our fourth bedroom, alright it has no door so I guess it's not a bedroom but that's what it's supposed to be, had a ceiling fan in it. An old-brassy-wooden-with-caning-on-the-blades kind of ceiling fan. The glass globe on the light part of the fan had flowers on it if that gives you any indication as to what I'm working with here.

I'm not in any position to change it right now. Mostly because the room doesn't even have a freaking door so why try to pretty it up with a new fan, right? Well, damnit if that stupid pull chain for the light on the fan didn't stop working. As in, you cannot pull it AT ALL. And wouldn't you know it got stuck in the OFF position? Because getting stuck in the ON position would be too easy seeing as how I'd be able to still use the light switch to work the thing. Nope, too easy, silly homeowner.

The simple thing to do would be to ignore it, which I did, for a few months.

The next easy thing to do would be to google and find out you can replace the little pulley switch thing. Great! And they sell it at our little hardware store in town? Even better!

Then you let it sit around some more because you realize once again that none of your breakers in the garage are labeled so it's going to require some time and switch flipping and running up and down the stairs before you find the room you're looking for. But you've been doing some fan installation in other rooms so you've got a few breakers labeled now and that means there's less switch flipping to go through so you figure today's the day to finally fix that damn fan so you have light in that fourth bedroom again.

Ok, perfect, it only takes five trips up the stairs before you find the breaker you're looking for which you promptly note on the paper you've taped to the breaker box so you don't have to ever unintentionally flip that switch again.

You climb your step ladder and start trying to remove the old pulley. Damnit again. One of the wires runs all the way up into the top. So you take it apart a little further and find the connection. Easy peasy. HA!

You get the thing all put back together and as you're trying to put the flowery glass globe back on you realize you can only use two tiny lightbulbs because the globe won't fit over two compact fluorescents. But in doing that maneuvering one of the sockets that was already loose to begin with completely breaks off. You consider burning your house down but fear the insurance adjuster might wonder why you already had all of your precious valuables in the detached garage out of harms way.

So now what do you do? Take the whole thing apart again so you can dig even further to access the small screw that holds the socket on? Or just take the whole thing down and replace it with one of the other flowery light fixtures you removed from another room? I went with what I thought was the path of least resistance and opted to just replace it with more flowers and less fan.

Are you still reading? I'm sorry. 

First, turn the power off...... again. Second, remove the fan blades. Third, remove all the skin from your knuckles as you scrape them repeatedly against the sandpaper textured ceiling while trying to remove the ridiculously tight nuts that are holding the entire contraption up. Four, get showered with drywall bits as the fan comes away from the ceiling only to realize they somehow stuck the wire nut connections back through the bracket through the tiniest hole that you can't access unless you unscrew the bracket while still holding the heavy base of the ceiling fan in one arm and the screwdriver in the other.

Ok, so maybe there was a little bit of a tutorial in there after all.

At this point you're thinking the hard part is done. I mean, you're replacing a big fan with a simple light. Two connections and a couple of screws and you're done.

But wait, there you go again being optimistic you silly homeowner. Because the screws that held the bracket for the fan to the electrical box in the ceiling aren't long enough to reach through the plate that holds the light fixture up. So you search through the graveyard of light fixtures that you've gathered in the corner of this forgotten bedroom and naturally don't find a suitable substitute. Which means you have to go outside to the workshop and rifle through your husband's neatly organized tools and screws until you find one.

Oh and while all this is happening you have a two year old at your ankles asking what he can do to help. Since there isn't much that's safe for a toddler to accomplish electrically speaking he takes it upon himself to empty out your stash of buttons and ribbons on the floor beneath where you're working so that every time you drop a screw (which is basically every time you undo one) you have to search through a mountain of buttons to find it.

So you venture to the workshop grabbing three drawers from the little screw cabinet/shelf/organizer thing and hope something in there works. And then the stars align and you finally get that light fixture up and the room is illuminated once more which really only shows you how long it's been since you vacuumed in there so you go ahead and do that too while you're in there.

Are you still there?

The point, you ask? Well, this is what every home improvement project I've tackled so far looks like, only sometimes far messier. I'm looking at you master bathroom wallpaper. And I'm starting to get discouraged. Like, why do I even do this to myself? I have a lovely home that gives us warm fuzzies when we think about living here for the long term. But it's chock full o' 1980s and sometimes it's frustrating to walk around and see nothing but DIY projects staring you in the face that you're too scared to start because everything up to this point has been so awfully painful and expensive that you're not sure you've got the strength to go on.

In a nutshell, that's why you haven't heard from me lately. I've been doing things but they've either taken forever or been not pretty to look at and I just don't figure anybody really wants to see that. Isn't the internet for looking at and sharing beautiful things? Am I the only one who has a hard time with DIY? All these professional bloggers make it look so easy which leads me to believe they're lying. Yep, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Let it shine...... just not into my windows!

Both of the houses we've lived in here in Illinois have had these dusk to dawn automatic lamp posts in the front yard.

The lamp post in question. Ignore the dirt patch surrounding it. 

Now, I'm all for making your home feel welcoming but not when it illuminates all the rooms on the front of the house. When we moved in here and I realized this house had the same style of lamp post I went straight to the breaker box to turn it off like I did at the last house. But to my disappointment I discovered that none of the breakers are labeled. Not a single one! Boo to that.

So the next best thing was to just go unscrew the lightbulb until we figured out what to do with it. So that worked for awhile until yesterday when Reid and I were getting some outside things done and he had the bright idea to black out the glass panes that face the house. This way the light would shine out to the street but wouldn't illuminate every room that faces the road. Brilliant!

I already had some Looking Glass spray paint so I figured that would be less offensive than just painting them black or a color. When I went to remove the two panes we would be painting I discovered they were plastic and not glass but luckily we also had some plastic primer so we were good to go.

There are six panes total so I just pulled out the back two and figured we'd start with that. If I needed to do one or two more it wouldn't be a problem to repeat the whole process.

I followed the directions on the plastic primer can and did two coats on the smooth side which is the side that faces out. After that had dried the recommended hour I did two quick coats of the Looking Glass paint which dries super quick. I didn't follow it up with any kind of sealer coat but if I find it's not holding up to the elements I might always go back and do that. 

Two coats of plastic primer and two coats of Looking Glass. 

This is what it looks like from the front of the panes. This diamond pattern will actually be facing towards the lightbulb. The smooth painted side will face out.

So this is what it looks like in the day time. Pretty inconspicuous, don't you think?

And what do you know? It worked perfectly! I tried getting a picture of it last night but my phone wasn't feeling it so you'll have to take my word for it.

So there you go. Complete instructions on how to spray paint two panes of plastic from your lamp post. Don't you feel smarter now that I've shared that little trick with you? You're welcome. ;)